Islamabad - The Supreme Court yesterday issued notices to respondents in delimitation of constituencies in five tehsils of Rawalpindi district.

The Lahore High Court on October 2, 2015 had declared the delimitation of union councils in Rawalpindi district for the upcoming local bodies’ elections by ECP null and void and restored the old delimitation of the constituencies.

The ECP in pursuant to the order of the Lahore High Court, Rawalpindi bench, issued a notification on October 9 to defer the LB elections process in five tehsils of Rawalpindi district including Murree, Kotli Sattian, Kahuta, Kallar Syedan and Rawalpindi.

Murree tehsil comprises union councils Dhar Jawa, Tarait, Murree City, Ghora Gali and Charhan, while Kotli Sattian tehsil consists of union councils Maloot Sattian, Bhattian, Karore, Letrar and Chajjana. Similarly, tehsil Kahuta has union councils Khalool and Beor, tehsil Kallar Syedan comprises union councils Sakoot and Blakhar and tehsil Rawalpindi consist of Khotha Kalan-I & II.

Munir Paracha Advocate, appearing on behalf of Election Commission of Pakistan, argued that the order passed by the single bench of LHC is unlawful as the high court had misread the chapter II & III of Punjab Local Government Act 2013. He said less time is left for holding LB polls therefore the court should decide the matter soon.

The petition contended that in light of clause 10-A in PLGA 2013, the court does not have power to review de-limitation of union council once the elections schedule is announced. “The high court also did not consider the Article 225 of Constitution,” it added. In March last year the Supreme Court had ordered the federal, Sindh and Punjab governments to make appropriate amendments/legislation to empower the ECP to carry out delimitation of constituencies.

“Since the delimitation of constituencies for the local government polls is part of organizing and holding elections honestly, justly and fairly, which is the constitutional mandate of the ECP, therefore the power to carry out such delimitation should vest with the Election Commission of Pakistan,” a three-judge bench had ruled. The bench was headed by ex-CJP Tassaduq Hussain Jillani.

Former Nazims of Union Council Numbal of Murree, Sajid Abbasi and Arshad Nawaz had challenged the annexation of some parts of their union council into Tarait and Murree city, while ex-nazim Murree Haroon Abbasi and others challenged the delimitation of Jawa, Ghora Gali and others in the Lahore High Court.

There were various other petitions from different parts of the Rawalpindi division including Taxila and Rawalpindi city.

The petitioners had adopted that the ECP while issuing notifications of new delimitations did not consider local and geographical conditions. The new delimitation will create hardships for the residents and it has also violated the right of adult franchise of the local people. The hearing was adjourned for one week.